There have been a lot of times when I wished I had a step by step and day by day plan for how to make this blog successful.
I’m doing this part-time because I still have a day job that pays the bills around here. When I do make time to work on the blog, it has to be productive time. If I’m giving up evenings and weekends for this, it darn well better be worth it.
You may have noticed that I’m the one in charge of the day to day tasks of running this blog. Because I’m the mom. And honestly, I have more time for it than Alex does. She contributes when she can but she has a job and 2 little ones. For the most part, it’s the Sharon show.
When I was younger, I’d head into a new adventure footloose and fancy-free. No forethought, planning or research needed. I think only the young have that unwavering belief that things will work out just because they want them to.
Then again, maybe I was just lazy.
Now that I’m older and wiser (or at least on paper), I like to do my research first so I have an idea of what I’m getting myself into. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the amount of information and advice out there on how to “do blogging”. I’m not saying that it’s not useful or valuable, it’s just that there’s a lot of ground to cover.
Maybe it’s just me but I find it difficult to put all that blogging advice in a cohesive format that results in an actual plan for me to follow.
I need to know what I should be doing every day, down to the last detail, so I have the best chance at making our blog successful.
I totally had an “a-ha” moment at the end of last year while I was making plans for the blog for 2018. A blog post that I came across listed a pretty detailed plan for social media content and promotion. It even suggested how many for each platform each day. I thought to myself, “Self, now this is something I can get behind.”
A checklist of things I need to do every day? YES PLEASE.
Because if you really want to make your blog successful you need to be doing something every day.Click To Tweet
You may only update it once a week with new content, but there are a lot of other things you should also be doing too.
Not spending enough time on promotion is the single biggest mistake that new bloggers make.
I know I made this mistake in the beginning. Until I really grasped how it all works it felt kind of spammy to always be pushing my stuff into the world.
Yes, writing great content that solves a problem, and that people are interested in reading, is the foundation for success. But you need to spend more time promoting your content than you do to create it. If you think you only have to share your post on a few social media platforms after you publish, and then move on to the next thing without looking back, you’re wrong.
But to borrow a quote from one of my favorite movies ever, life moves pretty fast. And so does the internet. Your bright and shiny new post stopped being new about 30 seconds after you shared it. Why? Because there are now 20 other things that have been shared since then. It’s now so far down in your followers’ feed that if they missed it, it’s unlikely they’ll ever see it. Life moves pretty fast.
You should be working on your content every day too
This took me a little longer to put into action. I tried for a while to cram all of my writing into the weekends. We post 3 times a week. When Alex has the time she’ll contribute something but mostly it’s me doing all the writing too. (Dude, I need a raise. 😉) But it takes me about 5 hours on average to put a post together, excluding any research. It was getting too much to get done on the weekends since it didn’t leave time for much else.
Now I spend a little time each day in the morning and each evening on content. Whether it’s research, or busting out an outline, or actually writing the post, I try to spend some time on it. My goal is to be able to schedule everything for the week on Sunday. And maybe actually get ahead a little! The holidays made that difficult so I’m working on getting back into the rhythm of things. That’s the goal anyway.
I also write better if I can step away from it for a while. Writing can be a painful process when you’re up against a deadline. That’s when it seems like the right words just won’t come when I really, really need them to. Breaking it up into different sessions lessens the anxiety a little since I know I’ll have more time to work on it.
You Really Need a Pinning Strategy
Pinterest changes its algorithm a lot.
And without fail, you’ll see questions and complaints from bloggers in Facebook groups and other forums because their traffic just tanked. I don’t have specific answers on Pinterest. No one really does, hence the reason Pinterest changes things so often. They don’t want anyone figuring out their secrets. Which is great for Pinterest, but not so great for the rest of us.
I’ve tried to do my research so I’ve read a lot about it. One of the best books I’ve read is Pinteresting Strategies. You can snag a copy here if you’re interested. One of the biggest takeaways I got from this book was that you need to keep in mind what the true purpose of Pinterest is. Then build your strategy based on that.
Pinterest rewards you for being active and engaged.
Look at the metrics that are available when you have a business account. Yeah, they measure viewers, but they’re also tracking engagement. Pinterest is interested in how people are interacting with your content and you should be too.
Schedulers are great and huge timesavers for sure. But is Pinterest going to look at activity from schedulers the same way it will view someone using Pinterest as it was designed? I don’t think so. Part of my daily “process” is to spend about an hour manually pinning my own content. I use BoardBooster for scheduling but only for third party content and the new tribes feature.
And then there are group boards and Tailwind tribes as well. Pinterest is a huge topic so I’m planning a series of blog posts on what I’ve learned and how I use it. But for now, know that you need to spend some quality time on Pinterest every day, whether it’s using a scheduler or manually pinning. Join some group boards because that will up your game a lot. I like the 70/30 rule for Pinterest, which is pinning 30% content that is yours and 70% of others. Group boards are where that 30% is going to to go.
Other Things You Should Be Doing
I spend a lot of time on what I like to call research and development. That can involve reading blog posts or articles on blogging, staying up on current events, or even taking courses to learn something new. If you’re really serious about growing your blog you need to constantly be learning. Technology and the Internet are always evolving. If you want to stay relevant in the online world, you need to stay up-to-date on what’s happening.
And there are a lot of really smart people out there who are willing to share what they know with you. Take advantage of this! Listen to podcasts while you work out, read blog posts while you’re standing in line at the grocery store or find other creative ways to work this into your day.
Social Media Content and Promotion
If you don’t have an editorial calendar for your Instagram account, you should really think about getting one. I’ve had an editorial calendar for blog posts for a while now that I track using Trello. Sinde January 1 I’ve been using one for Instagram too. What a game changer! I created a new board for it in Trello so all my editorial info is in one place. Every Sunday, I’ll get the image or graphics ready and schedule the week out. Done and done. I have an alarm on my phone to remind me when to post.
Same goes for Twitter. I have another Trello board for Twitter posts. I’ve been using Post Planner to schedule all my Twitter posts and so far I really like it! Post Planner will post on your behalf. After you create your posts and set the schedule, that’s it. Post Planner does the rest.
I take more of a 50/50 approach to Instagram and Twitter. You should engage on these platforms by sharing, commenting, liking and retweeting but it’s OK to share more of your own stuff too. Life moves pretty fast, remember?
OK, enough talky-talk. How about a printable?
You know I love Todoist so that’s the main way I track my daily tasks. But I know that printables can be very useful as well. I created this handy checklist for you to use to keep track of what you need to do each day. You could laminate this or keep it in a sheet protector. Use a dry erase marker to mark items off as you complete them. Then wipe it off so it’s ready for another day.
This isn’t meant to be an all-inclusive list. I’m not suggesting that if you do the things on the list and only the things on the list, you’ll have immediate blog success. This is just meant to be used as a guideline with some numbers plugged in to help you find what works for you. If you don’t want to do 7 tweets, don’t do 7 tweets. Do 5. Or do 9. Find what works for you.
In any case, here you go! Click the link to open the pdf in a new window and then print.